News & Brews May 4, 2023

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Senate votes to curb waste and abuse in public assistance programs

Yesterday, the state Senate voted 28-21 for three bills that would reduce abuse in public assistance programs and ensure resources go to those who need them. Among other things, the bills would ensure medical assistance and food stamps are not sent to deceased individuals and check income and employment to prevent fraud. All Democrats except Sen. Lisa Boscola (Lehigh and Northampton counties) opposed the bills.

Senate votes to limit Philly commuter tax

The AP reports that the state Senate voted 28-21 yesterday “to pare back a Depression-era law that allows Philadelphia to impose a commuter tax on suburban residents.” Under the proposal, Philly “would lose the authority to impose a wage tax on [non-city residents] who work from home, even if they work for employers located in the city. For those who perform some of their duties outside the city, Philadelphia could only tax their earnings proportionate to the amount of work they performed in the city.” All Republicans and one Democrat (Sen. Steve Santarsiero of Bucks County) supported the bill. The story notes it “likely faces a chilly reception” in the Democrat-controlled House.

Union handout proposal threatens workers’ rights

The Pennsylvania Business Report covered concerned reactions to the Democrat-passed proposed constitutional amendment that would elevate union contracts above state law and strip workers’ rights. Our president and CEO, Matt Brouillette, stated, “The narrative that this has anything to do with protecting workers’ rights would be laughable were it not so dangerous. This proposal is about trampling workers’ rights under the feet of big labor to the financial benefit of big labor at workers’ expense.” The House passed the proposed amendment 102-99 yesterday. GOP Rep. Tom Mehaffie (Dauphin County) was the sole Republican joining all Dems in backing the union handout. (This is hardly the first time Mehaffie has cozied with the Left.)

Nurse practitioners rally to practice independently

Yesterday, nurse practitioners rallied in Harrisburg in support of legislation that would allow them to practice independently. The proposal, sponsored by Sen. Camera Bartolotta (Beaver, Greene, and Washington counties), would eliminate the requirement that NPs have a collaboration agreement with a physician. More than two dozen other states have already made this move. Democrat Sen. Lisa Boscola (Lehigh and Northampton counties) said, “We currently have a primary care shortage gap that’s only anticipated to grow…. Let’s get rid of this nonsense and make Pennsylvania the 28th state (to adopt full practice authority), not the 50th.”

Poll: Socialist takes big lead in Allegheny County exec Dem primary

Backed by a “core Democratic base,” self-proclaimed Democrat Socialist state Rep. Sara Innamorato has a 12-point lead over the closest contenders in the Democrat primary for Allegheny County executive. The Post-Gazette reports that Innamorato garners support from 32% of likely Dem voters, while County Treasurer John Weinstein and Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb are tied for second at 20% each. Meanwhile, 18% are undecided.

Lawmaker charged with DUI after single-car crash

GOP state Rep. Torren Ecker (Adams and Cumberland counties) has been charged with DUI following a single-car crash last month. PennLive reports that “Ecker declined comment beyond what he said previously about the incident. In a statement after the incident he said he was ‘relieved that my lack of judgment did not result in any injury to others or myself. I take responsibility for my actions.’”

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